Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend - What It's All About

At the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, I always like to remember what the holiday is all about.  The following is the promo clip from the HBO  movie "Taking Chance".  A friend of mine who lost his son on September 11th gave me a copy of this movie.  It's about a Marine officer who accompanies the body of  a young Marine back from Iraq.  Chance Phelps was the name of the dead soldier and this movie is based on a true story.  God bless Chance and all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Excuse me, Pharoah, What Plague Was That?

OK, I'm trying not to be too apocalyptic here, with all that's going on in Europe and especially Greece, but this is a little freaky.  A road in Greece had to be closed down because it was overrun by frogs.

(reported by Breitbart.com)



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Go Into the World and Tell Everyone You Meet, There Is a Man on the Cross"

There is a picture that has been making the rounds this week.  It shows a mob amassed outside of the house of a lawyer for one of the country's largest banks on May 14th.  The signs held by the mob say things like "bank greed."  The over 500 people showed up in 14 school buses.  They went up the front walk of the house to the man's porch.  They flooded his front yard.  However, the man wasn't home.  Only his 14 year old son was home.  By himself.  The frightened kid locked himself in the bathroom while the mob swarmed his property.

I would like to ask each of these people what was it that made them decide this was the best way to act.  What thought process was involved that led them to the decision to join an angry mob?  Did they actually feel that they had been personally hurt by this man or did they want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves?


                                            For full story go to Powerline blog.

For some reason, I can't get this picture out of my head.  It speaks to me of the danger of being too free in our judgment of others and too far from the mandate of our Creator.  Love one another.  Too eager to tear another down through violence and intimidation.  How easy it is.

In one of his homilies, Bishop Fulton Sheen tells a tale of hearing a voice from the cross and turning to the voice and saying, "I will take you down" and trying to pull the nails from the feet.  But the Lord says in return, "..I cannot be taken down until every man, woman and child come to take Me down."  And he replies to the Lord, "What can I do?  I cannot bear your cry!"  And the Lord said, "Go into the world and tell everyone that you meet, there is a Man on the cross."

There is so much anger in our world today.  The impulse to hurt rather than to help seems to dominate.  The message must get out.

There is a Man on the cross.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Who? The Holy Spirit? Who's That? - Part 2



It was on The Feast Of Pentecost that God the Holy Spirit empowered a handful of frightened apostles and disciples hiding behind locked doors with the incentive and the ability to unlock the doors, face the world, and convert the world to faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  On that Feast of Pentecost, over 2000 years ago, the holy Church was born.  And its newborn children, the Apostles and disciples, went forth into the world to preach and teach and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For you and me, 2000 years later, the Sacrament Of Confirmation is the Sacrament of our personal Pentecost.
Confirmation endows us with the capacity to become spiritually mature.
Confirmation summons us to the fullness of living our lives committed to Christ.

We must possess seven qualities or capacities to qualify as adult Christians.
These seven capacities can only be given directly by God as internal spiritual endowments.
We call these The Seven Gifts Of The Holy Spirit (see The Book of the Prophet Isaiah 11:2-3 and The Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11).


THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT


WISDOM
  • The spiritual gift of Wisdom helps us see and evaluate our lives in relation to God and in union with God. 
  • Wisdom is the capacity to deal constructively with reality. 
  • Wisdom enables us to distinguish fantasy from reality and live accordingly.


UNDERSTANDING
  • The spiritual gift of Understanding makes us human beings comprehend our brief life on earth and the events of earthly life in relationship to our Eternal God in Heaven. 
  • The spiritual gift of Understanding connects our daily living with the final goal of our earthly lives and to eternity waiting for us after this life. 
  • Understanding gives us the capacity to adapt to change. 
  • Understanding helps us to accept changes, seeing them as being for the good of everyone.

COUNSEL
  • The spiritual gift of Counsel helps us to tell people things that will help them in their relationship to God. 
  • Counsel gives us suitable freedom from the symptoms that are produced by tensions and anxieties. 
  • Counsel leads us to delve beyond the visible to discover the hidden causes and symptoms of our fears and tensions.
PIETY
  • The spiritual gift of Piety  is the capacity to remain loyal to the cause of God. 
  • Piety is the exact opposite to selfishness. 
  • Piety is the capacity to find more happiness in giving rather than receiving or taking. 
  • Piety warns us against our tendencies to be selfish.

KNOWLEDGE
  • The spiritual gift of  Knowledge is a gift of the Holy Spirit that helps us to know the truths of God, even when they are unsearchable by the human mind. 
  • Knowledge is the capacity to relate to people in a consistent manner, with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness. 
  • Knowledge gives consistent direction in our lives. 
  • The spiritual gift of Knowledge saves us from being shattered by every passing emotion.

FEAR OF THE LORD / REVERENCE
  • The spiritual gift of  Reverence is the capacity to see the presence of God in the world and in people, and to have reverential respect for God. 
  • Reverence is sometimes referred to as “Fear Of The Lord.” 
    • “Fear” actually means loving respect, honor, veneration, and devotion to God as little children lovingly respect, honor, venerate and devote themselves to their loving father and mother. 
  • “Fear of the Lord” or Reverence enables us to direct our instinctive hostile and selfish energies into creative and constructive outlets. 
  • Reverence prods us to accomplish good deeds which might otherwise be left undone.

FORTITUDE
  • The spiritual gift of Fortitude is the God-given capacity to love and to have the strength of mind to proceed with courage for the sake of Christ and His Gospel. 
  • Fortitude is necessary for true love, because fortitude gives us courage to make a solemn commitment to God and to others in spite of the risk of being rejected by them because of our commitment to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
As mentioned above, we must possess seven qualities or capacities to qualify as adult Christians.
On this Feast of the Birthday of The Church -- while in quiet contemplation -- we should examine our lives to determine which of the Seven Gifts of the Spirit we are permitting to be used, and which of the Seven Gifts we are not allowing to play active parts of our day-to-day life as Catholics.

Since our personal Pentecost -- Confirmation -- took place,  have we allowed ourselves to live as adult Christians? 
Have we been acting, speaking, thinking, and praying like responsible Christians?
Are we still spiritually living and thinking like immature Catholic "kids"? 
Why are we evading an adult, responsible, full, and passionate commitment to Our Lord Jesus and His Holy Church?
What are we afraid of?
What are our lame excuses?
What are we waiting for?

Sometime today, on the Feast Of Pentecost, you and I really must try to answer these questions, or we won't have any birthday cake in Christ's Heavenly Kingdom.

Happy Birthday to us! 
Blow out the candles on the Birthday Cake. 
But do not blow out the flames of the Holy Spirit within you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Who? The Holy Spirit? Who's That? - Part 1

 We know in our Faith that there is only one God, and yet God is three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We call God, The Blessed Trinity.
 
We all have some idea of Who God Our Father is. Many of us have known a person whom we might describe as “a father” or as “a fatherly person” from whom we experienced loving, strong, benevolent selfless giving.
That human father has helped us understand something about God the Father.

Now, seeing how we are all children of our own parents, you and I are able to look at our own experience of being a child, a daughter or a son.
That helps us understand something about Jesus, God the Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. We are able to grasp the meaning of Jesus’ relationship with His Heavenly Father.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t really think much about God the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

It’s a fairly common experience for human beings. Many of us don’t relate to the Holy Spirit as a Person.
We find it difficult to discuss the Holy Spirit. It seems difficult to make the Holy Spirit a conscious part of our lives and of our prayers.

As a matter of fact, in The Acts of the Apostles [19:1-7], when Saint Paul arrived in the city of Ephesus, and began to proclaim the Gospel Message of Jesus, Paul ran across some Ephesians who announced to Paul that they already were followers of Jesus.

  • Paul asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
  • They answered him, “We have never even heard that there IS a Holy Spirit!”
So, how do you and I express the presence of the Holy Spirit who is dwelling within us?
Do we, in fact, experience the Holy Spirit within us?
Are we able to relate to the Holy Spirit as a Divine Person -- like God the Father and God the Son?

There’s a terrific paradox here! Namely, even if we haven’t been aware of this, we all have been experiencing the Holy Spirit -- throughout all of our lives!
  • In every one of our daily human experiences, we are encountering the Holy Spirit -- consciously and unconsciously! 
  • Every thing, every object that exists ... every situation and event ... every thought ... every emotion ... every person we encounter -- is like a prism that reveals the Holy Spirit.
    • A prism is a lens that breaks light into components and then reveals the many colors that exist in the invisible light which surrounds us and illuminates our world.
  • Objects, things, animals ... events ... feelings and ideas ... and people around us -- all reveal the infinite varieties of the Presence and the Power of the Holy Spirit.
  • And it is God the Holy Spirit who reveals the Presences of God the Father and God the Son within us and all around us!
To Be Continued...

And, Whack! Snap Out Of It!

I'm feeling rather grateful to God -- again. 

And this particular moment of gratitude follows a little time spent thinking and praying, and wondering (a little nervously) about where we, Americans, are heading. 

Then, my guardian angel must have slapped me on the back of my head and said, "Snap out of it! Don't worry yourself into hopelessness!  Come on, get to work!  You know Who to turn to and Who you can trust. Duh?"
(Ow... that still stings.)


This video, In God We Still Trust, by the group, Diamond Rio, kinda captures what my guardian angel was trying to tell me.
So, here are our musical guests!  Hit it, boys! (No, not my head! The music!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Saddening, Disheartening Sign Of The Times


Isn't it a shame
that signs like this one
need to be placed in
parking lots?

How sad
that people
must be reminded
about being
just and charitable.  

How shameful
that people let their
sinful selfishness or laziness
have free rein in their lives,
and thereby make decisions
which deprive
a deserving person
(in this case,
a handicapped person
who might really need to park
in a designated parking space
closest to a building's entrance). 

This particular sign
left me feeling sad,
disheartened,
and a little angry,
because
it is in
the parking lot
of a
Catholic Church!
 
Sigh...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Know Your Adversary: Part 5 of The "Fact File" on Satan

Our Lord Jesus rebukes Satan after his trying to tempt Our Lord during His 40 days of fasting and praying in the desert. "Begone, Satan! for it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.'" Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. [Matthew 4:10-11].

Academicians, let's conclude our look into how we engage the Evil One in SPIRITUAL COMBAT. This post will be a "bookend" for our brief "fact file" series on Satan. However, we are not finished with this: Because Satan is not finished with us.

Please see my message below, at the close of this post.
On a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis,
how can we fight this powerfully deceitful,
dishonest, tireless, raging angelic being, Satan?

P R A Y !
How can the Holy Spirit help you grow in knowledge of Our Lord Jesus and God His Father if you never make any time for Him? If you wish to learn more about a friend, you "hang out" with that person. Isn't the Lord Jesus entitled to your time a few times a day?
Repeat a short prayer (traditionally called an ejaculatory prayer):
  • "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner." 
  • "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, and lead all Souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy." 
  • "Satan, in the name of Jesus Christ, depart from me." Say this when you feel you're being tempted to do, say, or think something that denies God's Holy Presence dwelling within you or within others. 
Say the Prayer to Saint Michael The Archangel:
The late Pope John Paul II recommended all Catholics to pray it:
"May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: 'Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power' (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world." (April 1994)
Saint Michael the Archangel,
Defend us in battle.
Be our protection against
The wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
And do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, 
By the Divine Power of God,
Cast into hell,
Satan and all the evil spirits,
Who roam throughout the world
Seeking the ruin of souls. 
Amen.

Pray the Rosary. Draw closer to Our Blessed Mother: 
Satan hates the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother. Why?
Saint Louis De Montfort explains beautifully in his book, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin:

God has established only one enmity - but it is an irreconcilable one - which will last and even go on increasing to the end of time. That enmity is between Mary, his worthy Mother, and the devil, between the children and the servants of the Blessed Virgin and the children and followers of Lucifer. Thus the most fearful enemy that God has set up against the devil is Mary, his holy Mother. From the time of the earthly paradise, although she existed then only in his mind, he gave her such a hatred for his accursed enemy, such ingenuity in exposing the wickedness of the ancient serpent and such power to defeat, overthrow and crush this proud rebel, that Satan fears her not only more than angels and men but in a certain sense more than God himself. This does not mean that the anger, hatred and power of God are not infinitely greater than the Blessed Virgin's, since her attributes are limited. It simply means that Satan, being so proud, suffers infinitely more in being vanquished and punished by a lowly and humble servant of God, for her humility humiliates him more than the power of God. Moreover, God has given Mary such great power over the evil spirits that, as they have often been forced unwillingly to admit through the lips of possessed persons, they fear one of her pleadings for a soul more than the prayers of all the saints, and one of her threats more than all their other torments. 
What Lucifer lost by pride Mary won by humility. What Eve ruined and lost by disobedience Mary saved by obedience. By obeying the serpent, Eve ruined her children as well as herself and delivered them up to him. Mary by her perfect fidelity to God saved her children with herself and consecrated them to his divine majesty. 
The Holy Rosary is our most effective weapon against Satan.
Satan and the fallen angels fear the power of the Holy Virgin Mary.
The conquering power of praying the Rosary as a weapon against Satan has been demonstrated over and over in Exorcisms.

Go to Confession: take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

Not only is confession a very important part of spiritual growth, it is truly good for the soul." 

Approach a priest you feel comfortable with; ask if he can be a spiritual adviser for you. 
The supernatural grace we receive in the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the source of our strength of will against temptations to betray Jesus and His Kingdom.
Can you afford NOT to have His strength for the battle? 
      Perform Acts of Penance, Fasting, and Self-Denial:
      Fast from food.
      Fast from TV, iPods, videos, video games, computers, the Internet, "texting", messaging, chatting on your mobile phone. 

      Fast from complaining, from speaking uncharitably about others, from gossip. 

      Fast from shopping, or from popular coffee beverages, soda, cigarettes. 
      Instead of driving someplace, walk there and walk back again.

      Perform Acts of Charity and Generosity: 
      And this does not mean only donating money to the poor and needy. It also means donating your time and presence:

      Visit shut-in, sick, housebound friends, relatives, neighbors, parishioners, and those in nursing homes, hospitals, and psychiatric clinics.
      Help the same persons with doing yard work, food shopping, driving them to doctors or pharmacies -- and, yes, to Mass, Benediction, and communal praying of The Rosary. 
      +
        Remember: Satan is the Liar, your Adversary, your Destroyer.
        So, for Homework, please read our previous posts on:

        Your "Mom's" (i.e., Holy Mother Church's) insights on the being Our Lord Jesus calls "A Murderer From The Beginning":
                  Attention All Catholic Jedi ... Heads Up!
                  Swimming With The Spiritual Sharks
                  Men And The WWW.LINKTOHELL.TRAP

        Your "Mom's" rich advice on Developing Your Spiritual Life:

        The posts comprising this series:

        I hope this series has been helpful to you.
        In the future, I hope to write new posts related to the last five on Satan and
        Spiritual Warfare -- new posts based on your comments and questions.
        I welcome your comments or questions,
        and would enjoy hearing from you, our devoted Academicians!
        But, for now: Class dismissed!
        +
        Reverend Father James J.M. Reynolds, STB, STL
        "The Assistant Headmaster"









        Sunday, May 16, 2010

        Know Your Adversary: Part 4 of The "Fact File" on Satan

        "Christian's Combat With Apollyon" (a.k.a. Satan) from The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan;
        Illustrations by H. C. Selous and M. Paolo Priolo, circa  1850
        Alright, dear Academicians: Would everyone please take your seats?  We've reached the fourth part of this "fact file" series about our enemy, Satan.  We'll start with a continuation of our exposing Satan's methodology in his efforts to destroy us.  Then, we'll study the facts on how we can successfully engage in spiritual combat against this Liar, God-wannabe, Coward, Con-Man and Deceiver.

        5.b. WHAT ARE SATAN'S EXTRAORDINARY METHODS OF ATTACKING US?
        • His extraordinary and bizarre methods of demonic obsession and demonic possession are merely decoys and distractions for his more effective, subtle work on our thought patterns.
        • Demons who violently attack human beings physically, or who manipulate material objects, are merely physical, material gimmicks which can draw our attention away from Satan's real purpose, his master-work -- which is accomplished within our minds!
        • Satan's chief efforts are at twisting our minds away from God and human dignity.
        • Concerning Diabolical Possession: 
          • True cases of possession are extremely rare. Don't be duped by the movies, novels, junk-news, or newspapers that depict possession as something that can just happen to a person, suddenly and without warning! That's another of Satan's lies!
        • To find yourself spending a lot of time reading, speaking, or thinking about Satan, the occult, possession, etc. is a harmful thing: you may be tempted to turn off human others, concentrate on yourself, and actually begin to think you are endowed with evil supernatural powers or even in control of Satan. That's a deception!
          • NO ONE makes "a deal" with the devil; he is a liar who must never be trusted to honor ANY agreement. In the end, the human person involved will be the loser!
          • Read 2 Corinthians 11:3.
        • We are what we think. Our actions flow from our secret thoughts. "From out of your hearts evil thoughts come," Our Lord Jesus taught (Matthew 15:19). 
          • Our mind is always working, even as we sleep, so Satan can work on us 24 hours a day. (See how important prayer before sleep is?)
          • We are constantly, intentionally or unintentionally, feeding our minds through our senses.
          • Our thought diet includes: things we listen to, music we half-listen to, conversations we take part in, books or magazines we read, pictures we look at, movies, TV shows, people we hear.
          • Everything that reaches our five senses becomes food for thought.
          • YOU ARE WHAT YOU WATCH, SAY, and HEAR!

        6. HOW DO WE ENGAGE IN SPIRITUAL COMBAT AGAINST SATAN'S EVIL AND LIES, AND AGAINST OUR OWN SINFULNESS?  

        Saint Ignatius Of Loyola states in his Spiritual Exercises [Rules For Discernment Of Spirits, First Week, Rules 12-14] that the Devil is cowardly, and avoids dangerous or difficult situations.
        • Satan can be likened to "a deceitful man who is trying to seduce the daughter of a good family, or the wife of a good husband.  That false lover wishes to remain hidden, to carry on a clandestine affair and not be exposed or discovered, especially by the young woman's father or her husband. In like manner, when the enemy of our human nature tempts a just soul with his wiles and deceits, he wishes and desires that they be received and kept in secret.  When they are revealed to a confessor or some other spiritual person who understands Satan's deceits and evil designs, the enemy is greatly displeased, for he knows that he cannot succeed in his evil design once his obvious deceits have been discovered." 
        • But Saint Ignatius warns us not to presume that Satan's attack is over. It isn't, Saint Ignatius cautions.  
        • Saint Ignatius also compares our enemy to "a military commander who wishes to rob and plunder the object of his desires.  Just as the commander of an army pitches his camp, studies the strengths and defenses of a fortress, and then attacks it at its weakest side, in like manner, the enemy of our human nature studies from all sides our theological, cardinal, and moral virtues.  Wherever he find us weakest and most in need regarding our eternal salvation, he attacks and tries to take us by storm."

          7. On the other hand, when one faces this sneaky enemy without hesitation, boldly doing the opposite of what Satan is aiming at, then Satan's fierceness  and power fade away.
          Father Jules J. Toner, SJ, an expert in the discernment of spirits, advises us: "Take heart, be bold, go contrary to the direction of Satan's temptations. Do so not merely with blind determination, but with conscious trust in God, aware of His might, wisdom and love." 
          • Father Toner says that Satan is like a dog that barks and growls and behaves as if it will attack us -- and actually will, if we show fear.  
          • But, when you turn on him, he runs away to yap at a safe distance, irritating but harmless.
          • As The Letter Of Saint James [4:7] says, "Resist the devil and he will run away from you."  
          • Saint Paul, in his Letter To The Ephesians [6:10-19], tells us: "... be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.  To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints... ." 
          • Before a person with such an attitude and spirit, Satan will back off.   
          • But he will be back again with a different approach


            8. One of the main sources of TRUTH is the Bible, which is God's revelation. 
            The clearest signs of Satan's presence or other demonic presences and their manipulations, are  DOUBT and CONFUSION! 

            • God designed our minds.  Our minds were made to feed on pure TRUTH, but our minds, damaged by Original Sin, need discipline.
            • An undisciplined, lazy mind is open to any suggestions, even evil ones.
            • We human persons have difficulty knowing which suggestions come from Satan or from our own or other humans' sinfulness and selfishness.
            • Educate yourself in the Truth of the Gospel and the Church's teachings; then put your education into action for the building-up of God's Kingdom on earth! 
            • In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Saint Paul exhorts us: "For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete." 
            • And in Ephesians 4:22-24, "Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."

            To Be Continued ...

              Saturday, May 15, 2010

              Know Your Adversary: Part 3 of The "Fact File" on Satan

               Satan arguing to a scholar that the Mass is an idolatry. See below for the
              facts on how he tries to destroy the truth of God's Laws, Christ's Gospel
              and the Catholic Church's teachings. Don't underestimate the Devil!

              Well, Academicians,  
              In the previous post, we described the extents and types of power Satan has, as well as his limitations -- and how Satan wants us to think that he has God's extent of power.  Let's continue our "fact file" on the human race's number one, archetypal terrorist threat.

              4. WHAT ARE SATAN'S GOALS?


              • To darken our vision of God.
              • To make us think that God does not care, does not hear, cannot help.
              • To make us believe that God does not exist!
              • To cool our love for God by keeping us from praying, from going to Confession, from attending Mass and worthily receiving the Holy Eucharist, from doing good works, from respecting and loving human life from unborn babies to handicapped or sick or elderly people.
              • In a word, Satan's goals all burn down to DESTRUCTION:
                • To destroy faith in Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son Of God.
                • To destroy human innocence and purity.
                • To destroy human love.
                • To destroy human hope.
                • To destroy human peace.
                • To destroy you, me, and all human persons.

                5.a. WHAT ARE SATAN'S ORDINARY METHODS OF ATTACKING US?
                • Satan gets us to worry about things we cannot change. We worry so much that we forget about God watching over us; we forget to pray; we irritate ourselves and others; we waste valuable time and energy; we make ourselves sick from worrying and anxiety.
                • Satan suggests that we do things that do not lead to God, or that we just "put off" doing good things. Examples:
                  • "Hey, one X-rated movie can't do any harm to me, I'm strong." 
                  • "Make a visit to church and pray and spend some time in front of the Tabernacle? Nah! Too busy now!"
                  • "Read the Bible and pray before I go to sleep? I'm too tired." 
                  • "Go to Confession and confess my sins and failures to live in a Christ-like way? Hey, I don't do anything wrong! Besides, all the priests yell at you; and you can't trust them. I heard that priests tell each other what we confessed to them. No way I'm going to Confession!" 
                  • "I was thinking about becoming a (priest/sister/brother). But... forget it! Who cares about working for the Church. Besides, I'll never make lots of money and have all the things I want to own. Only losers make a self-sacrifice for others!"
                • Satan speaks and acts through others, through people who serve him: pornography pushers, drug pushers, greedy and materialistic people, dishonest business people, television and movie producers and actors, popular music groups, abortionists and Planned Parenthood, and other political, medical, or social agencies that lure women to abort their pre-born babies or tell us it's okay to have so-called "safe sex", homosexual activity, incest, pedophilia, etc.
                • Satan infiltrates our dreams and half-sleep, especially with sexual temptations.
                • Satan encourages us to rationalize (use what seem like logical and acceptable reasons) so that we are not upset or horrified by our evil choices. Examples:
                  • "I did not abort a baby; it was only a mass of tissue like a tumor. And, besides, I as a woman am the only one who decides what I'm going to do with my own body. If getting pregnant is not convenient, have an abortion." 
                  • "Come on, just take one hit of this 'crack' -- it isn't going to hurt you if you use it once."
                  • "Well, I don't care what you say. If we feel that we love each other then we'll 'make love' whenever we want. And we'll 'live together', too. We don't care what the Church or anyone says. If we feel it's alright, then let's do it."
                • Satan puts cutting and destructive words into our mouths so we say them with ease. Examples:  
                  • Any obscene or foul curse word; "Hey, fatso!" or "Stupid", "Ugly"
                  • Any form of racial bigotry and racial insults and put-downs
                  • Any form of put-down or verbal cruelty and viciousness that degrades or mocks a person's value and human dignity.  
                • Satan keeps our thoughts and desires centered on ourselves:
                  • The constant narcissism (much like Satan's) of I, me, my. It's all about me!
                  • "Give me..."  "I want..."  "I say..."  "I feel..."  "I think..."
                  • "I don't care!" "I really don't give a damn!"
                  • "What will I get out of it?"
                  • "If I have to do something without getting something in return, then forget it!"
                • Satan puts subtle doubts into our minds about religion or our Catholic Faith. 
                  • One of his best persuasions and tools to tempt us to stop believing or living all or part of our Faith, is recorded in The Book of Genesis [Genesis 3:1-24]: Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made.  The serpent said to the woman [Eve], "Did God say, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, " ... God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die. For God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God... ."
                • Here's what Satan does:  
                  • He states God's Law as a question. 
                  • He leads us to re-state it, usually imperfectly or erroneously, because we do not know God's Law well enough or/and we do not know the reasons for it (because we failed to study God's Law or we have failed to see It as important).  
                  • He then mocks God's Law, making it seem ridiculous. 
                  • Then he re-interprets and misstates God's Law, very subtly, so that it is no longer God's Law but Satan's law.  Example:
                    • Church Teaching: 
                      • Sexual intercourse outside of marriage is sinful; it is not a true act of love because only in marriage does unselfish love reach its proper fulfillment in the act of sexual intercourse, which the married couple's mutual love renders both unitive and procreative.
                    • Satan's version of the Teaching: 
                      • Sexual intercourse outside of marriage is not selfish and cannot be sinful if it is a truly loving act with the best intentions; because sexual intercourse will eventually lead the loving couple to seek love's fulfillment in marriage. And no one can judge the couple, because they had pre-marital intercourse to strengthen their love.
                To Be Continued...

                  Friday, May 14, 2010

                  Proof Of The Reality Of Guardian Angels

                  Here is an utterly amazing video, of a man protecting his baby as a car comes crashing up onto a sidewalk, hurtling right into them.  From my vantage point, this brave father, Andrew Leach,  should not have survived this horror.  Yet, he -- and his infant child, Haydn -- did! Thanks be to God!
                  Andrew Leach's and Baby Haydn Leach's guardian angels deserve a bonus!

                  The Assistant Headmaster

                  Thursday, May 13, 2010

                  Know Your Adversary: Part 2 of The "Fact File" on Satan

                   
                  Welcome, back Academicians!  
                  In the previous post, we defined some terms and began our examination of Satan by determining who Satan really is. To quickly summarize those points:  
                  • Satan is a created spirit, a created person. 
                  • However, Satan is a different kind of created person: he is an angel, an angelic being. 
                    •  Satan is a person with mind and will, but no body, who is still subject to God (just as all created persons are).
                    • Satan is a being with intelligence superior to human beings (he has existed longer than us).
                  • Before rejecting God and proclaiming himself to be more important than God, Satan was known by the name Lucifer (meaning "Light-bearer").
                  • His rebellion against God mutated Lucifer into the contradiction of a "light-bearer" -- thus the name, Satan (meaning "Adversary").
                  • The greatest enemy human beings have, is Satan.
                  • Satan is the original terrorist bent on obliterating his perceived enemies: you, me, the whole human race.
                  2. WHAT ARE SATAN'S POWERS?
                  • He has invisibility. (Because he is a non-corporeal, i.e., an angelic being without a material body.)
                  • He can acquire knowledge of our every move -- Satan is extremely perceptive. He's been observing us human beings since Adam and Eve.
                  • He has a piercing intelligence, more brilliant than brilliant human beings like Einstein, Socrates, Shakespeare (because Satan has existed longer than individual human brainiacs) -- but Satan is NOT more brilliant than Almighty God.
                  • Satan is a brilliant psychologist who has had a "practice" manipulating human "patients" since the creation of the first man and woman.
                  • Satan knows every human weakness, passion, sympathy, sin that we are capable of.
                  • Satan can transgress into and influence our imagination and thought processes -- to plant ideas, concepts, images, illusions, distractions, fantasies, hallucinations.
                  • Satan can attack our minds and/or our emotions.
                  • Satan never eats, tires, sleeps, grows weary; he has no human needs.
                  • Satan's total energies are completely centered on himself, and on gaining control of human minds, wills, and imaginations -- in order to destroy us.

                  3.
                  WHAT ARE SATAN'S LIMITATIONS?
                  • Satan is NOT God's equal.
                  • Satan could never be and will never be on an equal footing with Almighty God.
                  • Remember, Satan is an angelic creature created by God. He is eternally metaphysically inferior to God.
                  • Satan is NOT omniscient! He does not know everything (read 1 Corinthians 2:8; Luke 4:3 ; Matthew 24:36). God alone is omniscient; God knows everything.
                  • Satan is not omnipotent (all-powerful) like God is. However, Satan has a fantastic talent in his power of persuasion over human beings.
                  • Satan is not omnipresent like God is, however, no one is out of Satan's sphere of influence because he is not bound by the limits of space and time.
                  • Satan can infiltrate minds and emotions. 
                  • We know that on very rare occasions, and only with God's permission, Satan has taken a human form (note: I wrote the word, FORM, meaning "appearance": Satan is NOT a human being and cannot become one, and cannot beget human children (the film, Rosemary's Baby, was a great horror flick - but had totally mixed up metaphysics!). 
                  • Satan can use other people to affect, influence, tempt and confuse us.
                  • Satan has persuaded many people to feel terribly frightened of him by deceiving them into believing that he is as powerful as God. This is one of Satan's most effective lies!
                  • Satan is NOT God's equal.
                  • Satan is NOT as powerful as God.
                  • Satan does NOT have God's kind of powers.
                  • Satan is merely a creature, like you and me.
                  • Satan can contact and touch us only through our unredeemed powers (any of our skills, talents, gifts, abilities, mental faculties, intelligence, feelings, etc. that we have not given over to Jesus Christ and to serving God's Kingdom).
                  • Whatever powers we keep offering to Jesus and using for Jesus CANNOT be touched by Satan.
                  • Satan cannot "see" (perceive, discern) our deepest thoughts. He cannot penetrate our thoughts during prayer, so he takes great pains to keep us from praying!
                  • Satan cannot force our wills to sin. "The devil made me do it," is a cop-out. It is we who freely choose to sin against God, the Church, and each other.
                  • No matter how great Satan's temptations are, we can always fight him. YOU are the person responsible for your sins. Satan may only be there to help you into sinning.
                  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, in Paragraph 395:
                  The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him."
                  To Be Continued ...

                    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

                    Know Your Adversary: Part 1 of The "Fact File" on Satan


                    My dear Academicians, there has been talk in certain quarters lately about "all the evil things happening in the world right now," or whether "the end of the world will be coming soon."  In your immediate future, your stalwart Academy will present some helpful information about what our Catholic Faith teaches us about the end of the world. But that's for another day (yes, we will have another day!).

                    As it has been in many  previous posts, my intention here is to offer our matriculated Catholic Jedi Academicians some homework.  Yeah, yeah... I know that everybody hates homework. But as I've said before: Doing the Academy's homework will help create a disposition within you, a constant mood or temperament, that helps keeps your heart open to every action of the Holy Spirit.


                    First, let's be exact about the subjects we'll peruse.  Ergo, dear Academicians, some definitions:

                    EVIL is the absence of good (love, life, truth).
                    • Evil begins in the heart and mind of a person who rejects good.
                    • Evil spreads and infects things (our bodies, the earth, our thinking, our relationships).
                    • The power of evil comes from the powers and talents of the human or angelic persons who choose evil, who reject good.
                    HUMAN PERSONS are created beings, fashioned by God, Who gave us an immortal soul.
                    • Human persons are corporeal beings (we have physical bodies composed of matter) with mortal bodies (we live and move within the limitations of time and space and matter).
                    • For example, we are not able to be in two or more locations at once; we cannot pass through walls; we age and our bodies degenerate and can suffer from injuries, etc).
                    ANGELIC PERSONS or ANGELS are created beings, fashioned by God, Who gave them immortal souls, too.
                    • Angels are spiritual beings (they do not have material bodies), they are non-corporeal.
                    • Angels are timeless and transcendent (they are not bound by the constraints of time and space and
                      matter).
                    • God employs angelic beings to help and inspire us, to pray for us, to try to influence and encourage us to live according to His Commandments and His Son's (Jesus') example.
                    • Like human persons, angelic persons were created by God to have a free will, the ability to freely reject or accept the greatest good (namely, God, God's love, and God's will for what is best for the persons He created).
                    • The angels who freely chose against God's will are now eternally opposed to God and to God's greatest
                      creation: human beings. These evil angels are called devils or demons or evil spirits. They are the enemy,
                      your spiritual adversaries.
                    1. JUST WHO IS SATAN? 
                    • Satan is a created spirit, a created person. However, Satan is a different kind of created person. (Helpful little prayer about now, from Colossians 1:11-20 - "May you be strengthened with all power, according to [God's] glorious might... He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness... .")
                    • Satan is a being with intelligence superior to human beings.
                    • Satan is a person with mind and will, but no body, who is subject to God (just as all creatures are).
                    • Satan is a real enemy to human persons.  Satan is not playing games: he is dead serious - about obliterating us human persons.  As Saint Paul instructed us, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:10-12).
                    • Satan is one who tests, checks, verifies people's commitment to God.  Our Lord Jesus warned Saint Peter about an impending attack against his faith in Our Lord Jesus: "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail... (Luke 22:31).
                    • Before rejecting God and proclaiming himself to be more important than God, Satan was known by the name Lucifer (meaning "Light-bearer").
                    • His rebellion against God mutated Lucifer into the contradiction of a "light-bearer" -- thus the name, Satan (meaning "Adversary").
                    • Other titles: Angel of Light, Tempter, Deceiver, Destroyer, Roaring Lion, Prince of Darkness, the god of this world, Beelzebub (Lord of the Flies), Dragon, Serpent, Accuser (of human beings), Angel of the bottomless pit (of Hell).
                    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, in Paragraph 394:
                    Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father. "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." In its consequences, the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.
                    To Be Continued...

                    Thursday, May 6, 2010

                    The Risen Christ's Rescue Operation - Part Two


                    The finale of Saint John's Gospel – Chapters 20 and 21 – records one of the most powerfully moving incidents between Our Risen Lord Jesus and His Apostles.
                    After His resurrection from the dead, Our Risen Lord Jesus chose the occasion of a lakeside meal to give Saint Peter the opportunity to re-examine his commitment and profess his faith once again.
                    Our Lord Jesus prepared breakfast for His friends. And, then He asked, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?"  "Yes, Lord, You know that I love You." "Then, tend My sheep; feed My lambs.  Follow ME!"

                    HOW can you and I follow the Risen Lord NOW, two millennia after HE ascended back to Heaven?  How do we even FIND HIM in His hidden, risen life?
                    We must look for Christ in one another. It's not enough for us to be rescued.   It's not enough for us to accept His gift of His life to us. Just as He wants us to have His life within us, so does He want the world to have His Life, to be RESCUED, through us -- rescued through us IN TWO DIRECTIONS: giving His life TO others AND accepting His life FROM others in whom He is hidden!
                    We can perceive Christ in others ONLY if we realize that He IS hidden in His Risen Life. Therefore, we can only discern Him with the eyes of FAITH.
                    The Risen Lord Jesus says to us, as He said to Saint Thomas, "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN, AND YET BELIEVE."  We need that reminder. Especially when we encounter people who exasperate us, try our patience, and generally drive us up a wall!
                    Some people are NOT exactly unmistakable, crystal-clear windows through whom we see the indwelling Christ shining through.  But, then again, those people may feel exactly the same ... about US!
                    We must learn to recognize Christ in others with the eyes of our faith, because our peace of conscience and soul depend upon whether or not we BEHAVE as if we DO see the Risen Christ dwelling in others.
                    It is part of God's plan for us that the Risen Lord Jesus should come to us IN EVERYONE;  it is in their specific personality and circumstances that we must LEARN to recognize Him. 
                    • He may come to us as a little child, making enormous demands on our patience and generosity AND giving us enormous affection and trust. 
                    • He may come to us as a stranger, a "bag-lady" or "street person", asking for hospitality, food, concern. 
                    • He may come to us disfigured in His Passion, as a cancer patient, or an alcoholic or drug addict, or A.I.D.S. victim, asking us for courage and compassion, asking us not to be scandalized. 
                    Christ also may come to us asking us to the extreme humility which accepts HIS service offered to us -- as Saint Peter had to do when Our Lord Jesus washed Peter's feet and, later on, when He cooked breakfast for Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
                    If we see everyone in our life as having the Hidden Christ within them, we'll treat everyone with the reverence and objectivity that will grow into love. We'll also be able to accept whatever they bring to us as coming from the hands of Christ Himself -- whether they bring joy or sorrow or responsibility to us. 
                    Because, nothing comes from Christ that is not given for our ultimate happiness. Therefore, we'll be able to gradually learn that all the things people do, all the demands they make on us, are all part of GOD'S PLAN TO RESCUE US.
                    Once we've understood that, we can never again feel completely frustrated or angry at anyone; we can never hold a grudge against anyone. 
                    Nor shall we ever miss a blessing or joy God wanted to give us through another person. And even the pain of parting from loved ones at death will lose its power to afflict us,  because there will be no one whom we will NOT find again, rescued and in CHRIST'S LIFE for eternity.
                    On the slab in the tomb, from where they were placed across His chest, Christ extends His open Hands.   With a supreme act of love, He uncovers His Heart, a Heart which has died but has risen to new life.  And now He lays it wide open to generations and generations of people.  He sets His feet On the dusty floor of the tomb.  He unwinds the burial wrappings and lays them aside.It is not a ghost who walks in the silver of morning light.  The shadow that falls on the tombs, is the shadow of a Man of flesh and blood, transformed to the absolute fullness of life!Christ rises from the dead. There is no blast of trumpets, only everywhere in the world, there are people who are aware of a voice that is heard Only inside the heart, telling the wordless secret Of ultimate joy.Everywhere, people are listening for the first footsteps of the Risen Christ.He walks, In OUR shoes.  WE walk in His path of life forever!Alleluia!
                    From The Risen Christ by Caryll Houselander

                    Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

                    Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
                    Hey, Mister Academician! Why not take a moment and visit their website?

                    Don't Fall Asleep During "The Academy's" posts!